I can't say why I didn't start reading Cynthia Eden until I picked up Deadly Fear. I guess I was in a non-paranormal phase or something... Once I read...moreI can't say why I didn't start reading Cynthia Eden until I picked up Deadly Fear. I guess I was in a non-paranormal phase or something... Once I read DF, I started seeking out her other titles. The Midnight series was fabulous and the Eternals have also been addictive. Just flat out good reads. Ms. Eden tells one heck of a good story, with the right mix of suspense, humor and romance.
Zane is a bounty hunter and a demon whose latest bounty happens to be Jana, an Ignitor. Jana really is not on board with going with Zane willingly, and it turns out Zane is not the only one looking for Jana.
I think Zane is going into my Hero Hall of Fame. He just completely worked for me, on every level. He was strong physically and mentally. He is determined to do what is right and yet protect Jana at all costs.
I know Jana is in the Heroine HoF. So often, I really like the hero but am ambivalent about the heroine. Not here. Jana is awesome. She takes no crap off of anyone, is more than capable(and willing) to fight her own battles, and is determined to protect Zane from the people who are gunning for her.
Zane and Jana are great characters, both working for the side of good while skirting the edge of the envelope just a little. The intimacy scenes were smokin' hot, yet exhibited a depth of emotion. Very satisfying.
Both characters have their share of trust issues, which come up a couple of times in the course of the story. I hate when silly miscommunications drag on for half of a book. In Eternal Flame, I thought the misunderstandings were realistic portrayals of the beginnings of a relationship. They were quickly and reasonably resolved.
The action is pretty much nonstop. The pace is swift, grabbing the reader quickly, and never really lets up.
We touch base briefly with past characters, which is always fun. Jana's first impression of Dee: "The lady was small. Freaking tiny, with really bad hair. Blond, but cut oh-so-badly. And she was cursing."
There is so much to love in this book, mainly the interactions between Zane and Jana. A few of my favorite quotes:
Jana to Zane:" "You might be one of the good guys, but you've crossed the line for duty, I know you-" His laughter stopped her cold.... "Ah, Jana..." He shook his head." I have to know...What in the h#@! ever made you think I was one of the good guys?"
Jana to Zane: "" I didn't like the way the demons ganged up on you. I wanted to send a message and I did."
"I don't need you to fight my battles." He could handle any demon, any day of the week. But...she'd gone back to avenge him? That was...sweet, in a Jana way. Maybe some girlfriends would cook a guy dinner. Jana cooked his enemies.
Jana to Zane:"She tore her mouth from his."You'd better know who the h**! I am" Anger there.
And he realized, to her it was pitch black in the room."Baby, trust me, there's no forgetting you."
Loved this book, and am anxiously awaiting Never Cry Wolf.
Add me to the group who is kicking themselves for not reading Victoria Dahl earlier. This was the first book of hers I read, and as soon as I finished...moreAdd me to the group who is kicking themselves for not reading Victoria Dahl earlier. This was the first book of hers I read, and as soon as I finished it, I ran to the computer to order the 1st two in this trilogy. Strong, smart and funny heroines who are adored by their men. Now I have read them all,loved them all, but Lead Me On struck the strongest chord.
Jane is portrayed as an efficient, painfully formal, woman who gets knocked off her feet by the tattooed wonder that is Chase. Things get ever so HOT between them really quickly. Chase's reaction to Jane leaving after their first encounter is priceless. He is vulnerable where Jane is concerned, and determined to get her to see him as more than a breathing sex toy. I would want a Chase if I was a single girl - all red blooded hotness and strong devotion, with a backbone. Yum.
Jane is an enigma. She has reinvented herself after a traumatic childhood and an out of control phase as a teenager. She lives in fear of being recognized as the girl she was and being judged by her past rather than what she has made herself into. What Jane fails to get is that the harder she pushes her past away, the more of a hold it has on her. She can't forgive herself for what she did as a teen, and she is determined not to fall into the same patterns ever again. ( For those of you who consider Jane shallow and immature, please look at it this way; she is stuck in the past, striving for a future she can never attain until she comes to grips with herself. Yes, she is stunted because her past behavior is a huge obstacle she is unable to overcome. She has never fully matured because part of her is still stuck in that teenager phase she has never managed to reconcile. If you never behaved in a way that was utterly shameful and then had to face people that knew you when, I don't think you can identify with how Jane feels. People, especially in a smallish town or suburb, don't forget former bad behavior. Let me just say I find this to be a completely realistic portrayal of how young adults react when they are faced with a less than exemplary teenagerhood.)
Jane can't deny her attraction to the big, bad and tattoo enhanced Chase, but insists on keeping their relationship a secret. Chase is not one to be hidden. He knows the danger of not shedding light on the dark secrets in the corner, knows that gives the secrets a power they don't have if they are acknowleged and dealt with. Chase is just Zen like in his approach to life. He is the perfect counterpoint to all of Jane's angst, and helps her learn how to deal with her issues, and how to forgive herself. I love that he didn't give into being her dirty little secret, and I love that she didn't instantly capitulate to his demands.
The story is terrific, and has all of the wish-I-knew-them characters I now know to expect from Ms. Dahl's works. Mac is just wonderful, and Grandma Opal is the bee's knee's. I loved how we got glimpses of the "real" Jane from her interactions with Grandma. Let the snarkiness fly!
Ultimately, this is a story that warns the reader of judging the surface without looking too deeply at the person within. I love the layers upon layers we get to peel back with both Jane and Chase, because really, we are all more that meets the eye, aren't we? I love how Ms. Dahl gets that, and weaves those discoveries seamlessly into the story.
This book has it all - good story, great character development, steaming, scorchingly hot sex,( really) laugh out loud funny, and a believable outcome. Ms. Dahl is now on autobuy/keeper shelf for me! (less)
Liv is the ex-girlfriend of Matt, although they remain friends, and she still sees the whole Chase clan due to her friendships with Maggie and Cassie,...moreLiv is the ex-girlfriend of Matt, although they remain friends, and she still sees the whole Chase clan due to her friendships with Maggie and Cassie, the wives of 2 of the Chase brothers. Marc, the youngest Chase, is attracted to Liv, but she wants a man who is ready to commit, and she doesn't believe Marc is after more than a one night(or week) stand. Marc, in the tradition of the older Chase brothers, decides to instigate "The Woo", because he realizes Liv is The One.
Liv is a terrific heroine. She is smart, sassy and sure of what she wants. Her inner commentary made me laugh out loud. She is loyal to her friends. But she doesn't believe she is worth being truly loved, or that she will ever find love like her 2 best friends have. Liv just broke my heart. She feels like everyone she loves leaves her, which makes it hard for her to believe Marc has real feelings for her. Even if he does, she doesn't want to lose him or his family when the inevitable happens - he leaves her. Liv had such a hard time making that leap, and trusting in herself and Marc. When a misunderstanding occurs, she and Marc finally confront her deepest fears. Her straighforwardness and honesty in that scene...wow.
Marc is also terrific. He woos with a vengenance, noticing her favorite tea, sending her flowers, bringing her a muffin on the way to work, leaving poetry on her desk. He refuses to let her run away from what he believes they can build together. He enlists the help of his family, and gets some sage advice from Edward, his dad, in the wooage process. Marc is hard to resist, but throw in all of the Chase's and their wives, and Liv never really stood a chance. Marc knows he has to give Liv time to figure that out for herself, and time to trust in him and his feelings. He is patient, strong, understanding and so in love with Liv, but never does he come off as wimpy. In fact, he grows into the dominant side of his personality because he feels free to be himself when he is with Liv.
Liv and Marc really bring out the best of each other. They are terrific characters on their own but together they are stellar. Lauren Dane creates these amazingly real people, effortlessly weaving her story. I loved this book, and the chemistry between these two is off the hot chart.(less)
First, let me say that I am a new Rhonda Nelson fan. I read The Renegade and quickly devoured the Men Out of Uniform backlist, then moved on to the re...moreFirst, let me say that I am a new Rhonda Nelson fan. I read The Renegade and quickly devoured the Men Out of Uniform backlist, then moved on to the rest of her backlist. I have read them all in a week and 1/2. I LOVE her characters. All of 'em. Strong women, alpha men who love said women... Strong love stories, believable conflicts and quirky turns of phrase make Ms. Nelson's books come alive.
"The Soldier" has all of the good, plus some. I just loved Winnie and Adam. Winnie is such a strong, independent woman. She is competitive, outspoken and owns her own business. Adam, though, is her Achilles' heel. She longs for him, yearns for him for years, but is afraid. Even though she knows that he knows she has feelings for him, she is afraid to lay it on the line for fear of being rejected. She prefers to allow them both to ignore her feelings and maintain their friendship. In one scene, she is sharing how much she envies her best friend, Natalie(from "Letters From Home")who's other best friend happens to be Adam, the closeness Natalie shares with the man she so desperately loves. That scene was so heartfelt and real, it broke my heart for Winnie.
Adam has come to realize he is attracted to Winnie, but feels like it is pointless to pursue her when he wants nothing more that to resume his career in the Army. He is a Ranger who lost part of his leg in a bombing in Iraq. He is home to recuperate, but has not really dealt with the emotional aspects of being an amputee. He is wallowing until Winnie kicks his hindparts verbally, challenging him to get himself moving again.
These two really just click so well, and compliment each other's strengths and weaknesses. Adam finally gives in, and Winnie is determined to enjoy him for as long as she has him, and not ask for more. Their story is, by turns, both heartbreaking and joyful. I cried several times, for both Winnie and Adam.
I just adored this story, and the characters who populate it. Ms. Nelson's writing is such that this reader "sees" the story unfolding rather than words on a page. Also, I have been known to skim rather than actually read from time to time. I have learned not to do that with Ms. Nelson's books, lest I miss an unexpected laugh out loud line, or a unique point of view. Her books are worth slowing down for, and savoring. (less)
**spoiler alert** I honestly don't think I can put into words how much I loved Face of Danger. Vivi Angelino takes on a new client, becoming a body do...more**spoiler alert** I honestly don't think I can put into words how much I loved Face of Danger. Vivi Angelino takes on a new client, becoming a body double of an Oscar winning actress. The FBI also has stakes in the actress, as she is connected to a suspected sex trade smuggler. Agent Colton Lang is assigned to protect the actress, but ends up with Vivi, instead.
Colton Lang is sublime. Buttoned down to within an inch of his life, ordered and rule driven, we have been getting glimpses of him from the beginning of the series. In Face of Danger, he just explodes out of the gate, grabbing the reader's attention. There is never a doubt about his agenda and his motivation for his need for rules and control is spelled out early on. Vivi sets his world on edge, flaunting his love for order with her risk taking. But he is drawn to her.
Vivi Angelino...what a heroine. I have loved her since Edge of Sight. Confident in her skills, striving to bring her firm to the top of the heap of private investigation/protection agencies. Vivi wants to be the best, and throws herself whole heartedly into the growing of her familiy's business. Vivi has a past, though. Her traumatic experience changed her from a cheerleader/ballet dancer adolescent just coming into the exploration of her sexuality to a tomboy who dressed in baggy clothes, doing her best to hide her feminine side. Learning about her trauma was heartbreaking.
Vivi and Colt together...put on a flame retardant suit to read the love scenes! Consider yourself warned... Jaysus....from the airplane to the bathroom to the wall...I kept expecting the pages to go up in flames! Beyond the omg! sex, these two had a connection and an attraction to each other that read as very real and believable. Instead of Colt giving up his rules or Vivi giving up her need to be herself, they learned to work with each other. Their coming together was not without issues. Both have trust issues, and Colt is scared to take a chance on love. He is totally on board for "no strings" sex, but love? That's a little more than he thinks he can do. Vivi wants the whole package.
This book has lots of twists and turns in the suspense department, some of which I figured out fairly early on, some I didn't see coming until the details were revealed. There is a lot of action throughout, all tightly written to keep the pages turning. Ms. St Claire is a master of this genre, and this is definately one of her best all time efforts.
There is an appearance by Johnny Cristano, of Bullet Catchers fame, at the end. All of the usual suspects are here, and we get a good deal of time with Gabe(please let his book be next!) I am head over heels for this series, can't wait for the next one!
Laurent, the hero of Master of Darkness, is one of those characters who stands out, demands you notice him and goes out of his way to keep your attent...moreLaurent, the hero of Master of Darkness, is one of those characters who stands out, demands you notice him and goes out of his way to keep your attention. He first appears as a quasi villian in I Hunger For You, seemingly working with Tribe Manticore, the lowest of the low.
In Sizemore's world, there are 3 classes of vampires; The Clans, who are like royalty; The Families, who are upper to middle class; and The Tribes, the poor cousins. Laurent's mother, a Clan vampire, was captured by Justinian of Tribe Manticore, and Laurent is raised by the Tribe after his mother is sold when he was 6. Laurent is terrorized by Justinian and the other Tribe males throughout his childhood and adolescence. He breaks away from them, only returning when he thinks he can score a huge amount of money due to their latest scheme.
Yes, Laurent is a vampire with questionable morals. He is on the side of Laurent at all times, at least at first. He's irreverent, flip, self described as lazy...He reminds me of the lions in Shelly Laurenston's world. Very vain, narcissistic...So why is he appealing? Because he is a lost soul. He lost his mother, he isn't sure Justinian is really his father or not, he is unsure of a lot of the vampire rites of passage due to his upbringing. Is he really apatheic or has he taught himself not to care? But mostly, he is appealing because he reluctantly, almost off handedly does the right thing when it counts and hopes no one notices. And he is darn funny.
Ever the opportunist, when Laurent is cornered by 2 rogue vamps and Eden saves him, thinking he is her vampire contact, he assumes the role of Sid without missing a beat.
Eden hails from a long line of vampire hunters and falls into the family business. She is good at what she does, but she doesn't really enjoy her work. She isn't one to walk away from a tough situation, though. Eden is suspicious of all vamps and is not happy about being forced to team up with one to defeat the hordes of feral Tribe members descending on her city. She pretty much sees through Laurent's smoke screen, senses his pain and tries to protect him. I love a heroine who will stand and fight with, and for, her man.
The action, such as it is, in this story really comes at the very end of the book. There are some fight scenes scattered throughout as Laurent tries to retrieve a laptop with Manticore's financial information on it, and Manticore vamps try to recover Laurent. Most of the novel is centered on Laurent and Eden's growing attraction to each other. There is a nice subplot where the real Sid has gone missing and her partner, Joe, a werewolf, tries to find her. The hunt for Sid takes a very interesting turn, right into Laurent and Eden's laps.
The writing in MoD was tighter to me than in the previous three novels. Very snappy dialogue, lots of new characters were introduced, but in a good, natural feeling way. I hate when new characters pop up ever other page and they dead end. I know we will see these people again. There were some questions left unanswered that I am hoping will be resolved in future books. I am anxious to get to Sid and Joe's story now, as they both really shone brightly here.
All in all, I really enjoyed Master of Darkness. Laurent alone will put this on my keeper shelf. (less)
I will admit to a serious Jackson crush since his first appearance in this series. He is one of those in-your-face bad boys that will not be ignored,...moreI will admit to a serious Jackson crush since his first appearance in this series. He is one of those in-your-face bad boys that will not be ignored, whether it's his turn to be the hero of the story or not. Whenever I have high expectations about a certain character, I automatically worry that the story will not be all I want it to be. It so often seems like previous secondary characters who move on to the starring role have personality transplants from one role to the other. Not so here. Jackson is just as bold, just as filterless and just as entertaining as he has been throughout the series.
Jackson has made no secret of his desire to get Alani, Trace's sister(Trace of Fever (Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor))into his bed. Well, as we join the story, that seduction has happened, but poor Jackson has no memory of it. Seems he was drugged prior to Alani's arrival, and he has no recollection of the past day's events. Watching him struggle to get the details out of her, at first covertly, then overtly, was vastly amusing. He is quietly dying to know what tipped the scales in his favor so he can do it again....and again....and again! Alani at first thinks he is rejecting her, then comes to believe he actually was incapacitated, and he is completely miserable about it.
Alani was not my favorite heroine in this series (that would be Priss), but I liked her well enough. She was a little too understanding at times. That may have worked for me if she had followed directions better. The juxtaposition of her not feeling the need to question Jackson with her refusal to do what he said jarred me a bit. Not enough to wreck the story, though, not at all. I love that she trusted him, it just seemed a little out of character, given the moments of jealousy shown, and her willngness to connect her elbow into his ribs when Jackson went all caveman on her. Still, her steadfastness and her willingness to explore their attraction endeared her to me.
Jackson tried so hard to be straightforward with Alani whenever possible, and to tell her he wasn't able to be honest when it came to security issues. His determination to win her trust and to honor his promises to her was touching and, dare I say, sweet. Jackson is a man of many levels, which he tries very hard to hide. Alani pretty much sees right through him, though.
I love the frankness of the conversations between Jackson and Alani. Sexually and emotionally, they go out of their way to be honest with each other, at least to the extent of answering questions honestly. Was it realistic for them to have that level of honesty? I don't know, but it was refreshing to read. Jackson, in his POV, was very open about how he wanted Alani and how he cared for her. His biggest fear was of Alani getting tired of him, and leaving. It was different to see the hero struggle to not overwhelm the heroine, while still being just wide open about his desire for her. I am not explaining it well, but wow, I felt the testosterone Jackson was throwing coming right off the pages. It was intoxicating.
The actual plotline of the book revolves around the human sex trading operation that has been the focus of the last 2 books. Very fast paced and the villian is just creepy. We also get introduced to 2 new characters who I think we will be seeing more of. Dare and Trace make several appearances throughout the story, which is nothing but good. Priss and Molly show up for a guest appearance, as do Chris, the girls and Liger.
There were a lot of light moments in the story, from Jackson's first encounter with Alani's ex, to Trace and Dare's reactions to Jackson and Alani as a couple. And Trace and Dare's reaction to Jackson's....um, virility...was very funny.
I had a couple of small, almost nonissues with Savor the Danger. First, there were the few times that Alani came off as too good to be true. Second, the (SPOILER!)/Spencer subplot almost overpowered Jackson/Alani. That said, I cannot WAIT to read their book! Yikes, the few scenes they had together were blistering. Thirdly, not enough Chris! Then again, I am not sure there can ever be enough Chris, so that probably isn't fair to Ms. Foster.
All in all, a fabulous addition to the series. Love me some Jackson! (less)
With No Remorse takes place about a year after the end of Risk No Secrets, in which Luke has a life-altering experience. Luke is full of doubt about h...moreWith No Remorse takes place about a year after the end of Risk No Secrets, in which Luke has a life-altering experience. Luke is full of doubt about his ability to remain a viable member of Black Ops, Inc., and is a man facing true fear for the first time. Suddenly, everything he has known about himself, about his character and his self worth is in doubt and in question. Does he want to continue being with BOI? Can he work through the fear? How much should he have to give? I was in tears before we ever got out of the gate with this story, and I am tearing up again just thinking about it.
Luke meets Valentina, his lifelong dream girl, on a train in Peru, of all places. Bad guys are following her, and Luke finds himself reluctantly playing the hero once more. Here, Luke and Val are two of a kind. While Luke slips naturally back into his training, and steps up to the plate to get Val to safety, she is hardly a slouch. Swollen knee, freezing cold, altitude sickness? No problem. No, Val just kind of hangs on and does what she has to in order to survive. When she claims to feel like a coward, Luke tells her it is how you handle the fear that defines you, not feeling the fear. Val is a terrific heroine, very strong and aside from one brief tstl moment, smart about taking help. Loved how she interacted with BJ and Crystal.
Luke, as I said, is having a crisis of faith when he kind of gets pushed into the hero role. There are so many heartwrenching moments, especially in the first part of the book, about Luke's self doubt, and his fear. I can't recall any hero who has been so brutally honest about his genuine fear, or the fact that he would rather find an escape route than a weapon...yet he still comes to the aid of a person in trouble, albeit reluctantly at first, because that is what heroes do. The admission of his feelings in no way lessons his impact as a hero. Instead, it makes him all that much more approachable and believable in the role. He does what he has to do because that is who he is, at least for Val.
Joe Green also plays a decent sized role in With No Remorse. Along with Luke, Joe seems to be having issues. While Luke questions how much longer he will work for BOI, Joe is filled with rage over the death of their teammate so long ago. Together, this sets a more serious overlay to the tone than I have noticed in the past.
That said, there is also a great deal of humor in the book. Great BOI moments, with Johnny and Gabe, Crystal, BJ and Rafe, and of course, Nate. Nice romance, steamy and sweet. The blend of action and romance is just about perfect, a nice blend of sexy and suspenseful. Cindy Gerard crafts a tightly woven, richly detailed plot that grabs you at the beginning and never lets the reader up for air until the end.
Loved With No Remorse. Johnny Reed has always been my very favorite Gerard hero, but I think Luke is giving him a run for the money. (less)